LaPierre: Remember New Orleans
National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre has a new
rallying cry to spotlight the importance of every American's right to keep and
bear arms: "Remember New Orleans."
In a speech earlier this week to the New York chapter of the Sportsmen's
Association for Firearms Education, LaPierre painted a compelling picture of New
Orleans residents left defenseless by Hurricane Katrina - as one-third of the
city's police force deserted their posts and abandoned the streets to roving
bands of looters and thugs.
Here is a partial transcript of LaPierre's rousing address:
"Picture your beloved hometown, the neighborhood where you live. Hold that image
in your head. Now imagine that a massive natural disaster has transformed your
beloved neighborhood into a putrid soup of splinters, muck and corpses. A
massive natural disaster has pounded and ground your town into an ugly gravy of
dead, toxic garbage. . . .
"There's no power to run a single thing that makes a sound. There's no water to
bring in hydration or carry away waste. All life is stagnant around you - and
"You can't call anyone. No one can call you. Phone lines and cell towers are
down. 911 is gone. Police, fire, ambulance - the safety net of normal life - is
completely gone. Think about what that would feel like. There's no one but you.
"The shadows of armed looters and thugs begin combing the streets with hard eyes
and hungry looks. They take what they want. They rape who they want. They kill
Every exit is impassable, so leaving is impossible. But staying is unimaginable.
Life has been reduced to merely breathing, devoid of the barest essentials. Your
throat throbs for water. Your gut aches for food. And both hungers are eclipsed
by the inevitable fight for survival against those who would take your home,
your wife and your life.
"It's a hellish nightmare of hopelessness, helpless terror - bigger than your
brain can almost imagine . . . .
"You hear nothing but the buzz of mosquitoes, occasional shouts for help - and
gunshots and looting in the dark.
"But you have a firearm.
"At dawn, a few neighbors emerge from their houses. Some of them also have guns.
And you get together with them and you agree to take a stand - just as good
people have done since civilization was formed.
"Until civilization returns, you band together to protect those who can't
protect themselves. You realize suddenly that you're part of the militia in the
truest historic sense of the word.
"You've got a lot of single mothers with kids on your street. . . . Everyone's
doors and windows are wide open - they've been destroyed.
"So you tell the single mothers: 'If you have any trouble, just scream. We'll
hear you. We'll be there.'
"You spray paint sheets of plywood with big red letters - 'We are home. We have
guns. We will shoot.'
"And you know, because even the New York Times carried a picture of it - that's
exactly what they did in neighborhood after neighborhood all over the Gulf
states. Not in some foreign country - here in the U.S.A. Roving gangs see your
sign, they see your guns and what do they do? They stay away.
"Those guns and nothing else during that time gave the hopeless hope . . . In
the midst of all that misery you're struck at that moment by the beauty and the
salvation of second amendment freedom in the United States of America . . .
"The armed authorities finally arrive. The blame a broken levee for your
predicament. But then, something you couldn't imagine happening, happens. They
destroy the one thing that was standing there between you and anarchy - the
"They start confiscating firearms from the law abiding. Swat-style teams start
swarming block-by-block as if on a war footing. They're tense, they're jumpy and
they're trained for urban warfare . . .
"Keep in mind, these military folks, these police folks - they were on our side.
They didn't want to carry out this order that was given by the police chief of
New Orleans . . . In fact, they were outraged over what they'd been ordered to
"A reporters asked one of them - 'You mean [you might have to] shoot an
American?' And the soldier said 'yes.'
"But the Americans he was talking about shooting, they weren't criminals. They
were brave people who were simply left behind when the hurricane hit in one of
the most corrupt cities in the United States of America.
"New Orleans was the first city in American history to disarm peaceable American
citizens door-to-door at gunpoint. And I'll tell you this as we sit here today -
it must be the last . . . .
"With your help, the National Rifle Association is going to make sure it never
happens again. We're going to go state-by-state and change every state law that
has some type of emergency powers statute that allows authorities to regulate or
confiscate guns from law abiding citizens when an emergency is declared . . .
"The example of New Orleans is going to become to worst fear of those who want
to ban guns in the good old U.S.A. Never again can the anti-gunners claim that
honest citizens don't need firearms because the police and the government are
going to be there to protect you . . .
"And we've got a good slogan that you're going to hear from one end of the
country to the other. And that slogan is: Remember New Orleans . . .
"The next time anyone says to you: 'Are you just afraid or paranoid?' Look them
straight in the eye and say: Remember New Orleans.
"If they ask you, 'Why does anyone need to own a gun?': Remember New Orleans.
"If they say to you, "Why does anyone need a high-capacity magazine?" Look them
straight in the eye and say: Remember New Orleans.
"What's wrong with a 15 day waiting period? Remember New Orleans.
"What makes you think the government would ever confiscate your gun? Remember
"Is the second amendment relevant in the 21st Century? Remember New Orleans.
"That's our battle cry and let's never, ever let them forget it."